It was a lovely Kampala-n afternoon. By which I mean the weather was mild and humid, as it is it’s custom in this equatorial land-locked country. Back to the anecdote though.
Yes, lovely afternoon. Birds were singing. Taxis were swerving madly through double lanes, boda-boda’s following behind in suit. Nothing out of the ordinary. So my sister and I were on a shopping spree downtown, and got hungry. Now of course, our first choice was to go to the new KFC that had just opened across town. Keyword – Across town.
So we decided to go with Plan B, and stop at the ‘decent’ ‘reputable’ establishment known as Nandos & co. I say Nandos & co, because I don’t really know the real name of the building. Lets go along with ‘The Place Formerly Known As Nandos’. Pedantic much, I know.
I love fast food as much as the next unhealthy teenager, especially in a fast-food-restaurant starved country like Uganda. To me, this restaurant looked promising enough. At least they had those 20th century light-up menus overhead, and not poorly made laminated paper menus anymore.
Moving on – I happy order a combo chicken meal at Nandos. I can’t live without dessert, so I stroll around looking for a dessert place. And there I saw it. Right in my periphery. Sqoop – Uganda’s acclaimed first and best ice-cream shop. I walk up to the counter, and browse through the overhead menu that advertises its products with all the pomp a 1st world country diner would use. I pleasantly observe they have a wide variety of selection, ranging from Banana splits to ‘Choco-Nut’ sundaes. Now before I decide to order, I ask the lady firsthand if they have all that they advertise. She gives me a nod, and a blank yes. I go on a limb and decide to take her word for it, though not completely – I have yet to see a restaurant in Kampala that can make a killer Banana split, so I decide to go for the Choco-Nut sundae. Again I ask her if she is sure she has all the ingredients. She gives me another blank yes. I presume we’re working on a system of trust here, and decide to take her word for it.
I pay her a full 3 dollars and a few cents (roughly calculated) and she processes my receipt and hands it to me. She walks away from the register and moves to the back of the store (which is in clear view), picks up a medium sized thin plastic cup, lazily squeezes Heinz chocolate syrup into it, moves to the icecream machine, fills the cup with a flurry of strawberry and vanilla icecream, squeezes some more chocolate syrup on top for good measure, and hands it to me calmly.
All this while I had been watching this spectacle in disbelief. This was hardly a sundae. This was an abomination of a sundae. BLASPHEMY of a sundae. I was so shocked I didn’t even know how to react. All I can manage is
“…Where are the nuts?”
My sister appears to view this rip-off sundae, after seeing my pained look from afar. She frowns, and immediately starts telling the register/apparently-only-employee-in-the-whole-store what she needed to hear
“This isn’t a Choco-Nut sundae. To begin with, there are no nuts. Secondly, the ice cream is strawberry and freaking vanilla. Thirdly, it is in a cheap plastic cup, and way too small of a portion to be considered a sundae. Fourthly…(ranting continues)”
The lady is starting to look peeved, and she crisply replies
“This is how we make our Choc-Nat (Reader: Please note how she pronounces ‘Choco-Nut’) sundae. Other people may make it different but for us this is how we make it”
I shit you not, those are the exact words she used.
By now, my sister and I are plain irritated, and we decide to ask for a refund. And what does our dear Choc-Nat lady say?
“We can’t refund you, if the receipt is already printed we can’t take it back”
My sister is thumping. “Yes, you can! It’s a functioning computer, it can delete and edit and replace receipts if you know how to use it” she tells her exasperatedly. The lady refuses to admit defeat (i.e confess to being technologically illiterate) and says something about her computer being different from other restaurant computers. My sister gives up, and asks to speak to the manager. The lady replies, with an air of arrogance, that she is the manager. Perfect.
My sister storms off, I take the ice-cream cup, still seething, and follow her outside.
En conclusion: The ice-cream sucked donkey balls, and I’m not just being mean. I could make better ice-cream at home with yoghurt and a teaspoon of lemon. At least I’ve learned my lesson with local food chains.
Also, to Innscor Uganda that started this sorry excuse of an ice-cream shop?
NB: Replace your computer systems with newer technology too, please? Even my 58-year old father has a decent laptop, and not Compaq 1994s.